The Death of the Herbarium

Duke University recently announced the closure of its herbarium, a closure that has sent shockwaves through the plant/nature community. The decision is particularly shocking as the collection of over 825,000 specimens of vascular plants, bryophytes, algae, lichens, and basidiomycete fungi is especially rich in specimens from the southeastern United States. It is one of the largest in the country and has been in operation for over 100 years. So why is it closing? The university is stating budget concerns, lack of space, and issues with staffing, but to be honest? It’s Duke. As of June 30, 2023, the university’s endowment was comprised of more than approximately $11.6 billion in funds. If they wanted to make it happen, they could. They even had donors willing to step up to help offset some of the costs needed to continue this collection. But…

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